Peninsula Credit Union to Become Seventh in Washington to Offer ‘Save to Win’

Peninsula Credit Union will help “Save to Win” celebrate its first anniversary in Washington next week when it becomes the state’s seventh credit union to offer prize-linked savings accounts to members.

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who was a state senator when he sponsored the Washington legislation that cleared the way for “Save to Win,” will be on hand Monday to help Peninsula launch its program. He’ll be joined by Peninsula President/CEO Jim Morrell, Northwest Credit Union Association President/CEO Troy Stang, and a host of community leaders.

The event, which will include a continental breakfast, is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday at the credit union’s Belfair branch, located at N.E. 23550 Highway 3. The festivities will also serve as a fundraiser for North Mason Resources, a nonprofit dedicated to helping low-income families become more self-sufficient and less dependent on public assistance.

“Change jars will serve as a visual reminder,” Morrell says, “that even small efforts can add up to overwhelming results.”

That, of course, is the theory behind “Save to Win.”

“Research has found that by getting a chance to win a prize with each deposit, more folks are more likely to set aside adequate financial resources to be prepared for whatever life throws at them,” says Kilmer, who introduced a bipartisan bill in Congress in October to give all federally chartered banks and credit unions the option to offer prize-linked savings accounts. “The best that can happen is you reap a windfall. The worst that can happen is you’ve saved money.”

“Save to Win” incentivizes savings by offering monthly and annual cash prizes. All of the money members deposit in the 12-month certificate program stays in their accounts, because the prize pool is funded by other credit union resources. As members build their assets, they’re also eligible to win — each $25 deposit earns an entry into monthly and annual drawings, and members can earn up to 10 chances to win every month.

Typically, the monthly drawings award multiple $50 prizes. But in April, three $5,000 monthly prizes will be awarded, as will the Washington program’s first $5,000 annual prize.

Oregon’s Legislature hasn’t voted to allow prize-linked savings accounts yet, but six credit unions – Fibre Federal, TwinStar, Express, Connection, O Bee and North Coast – signed up for “Save to Win” in April 2013 after it became available in Washington. Through Feb. 28, members at those credit unions had opened 834 accounts and saved more than $784,500.

Strategic Link, the NWCUA’s wholly owned subsidiary, funds the prize pool; CU Solutions Group, which operates the program in Michigan (where the U.S. version of “Save to Win” was started), Nebraska and North Carolina, manages the Washington program, too.

National media have shined a spotlight on Save to Win, including coverage on CNN and the PBS NewsHour and stories in The Salt Lake City Deseret News and The New York Times. You’ll also find recent coverage of the program in Anthem.

For more information about the “Save to Win” program in Washington, contact Craig Reed, the NWCUA’s director of strategic partnerships, at 206.340.4789 or creed@nwcua.org.

Questions about this story? Contact Gary M. Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in NWCUA.